Innovation Foundry System Using ROHM’s Piezoelectric MEMS Technology
Piezoelectric elements possess the unique property of generating a voltage when force is applied and, conversely, producing force when voltage is applied. They also require very little electricity during standby, providing greater energy savings. These attributes have proven useful in a variety of electronic applications, from industrial inkjet printheads and autofocus motors in cameras to the wearable and infrastructure markets.
Another technology, MEMS (Micro Electrical Machine Systems), combines mechanical elements with micron-level (1/1000 th of a millimeter) electronic circuits produced using semiconductor microfabrication technology and is typically used in high-speed sensors and gyroscopes. Being able to form a thin-film piezoelectric element would make it possible to create an extremely small controller for processing the output of a MEMS drive block, contributing to greater miniaturization, increased performance, and lower costs.
Piezoelectric MEMS is quickly becoming an essential technology for next-generation devices that require smaller form factors, higher performance and lower energy consumption. However, thin-film deposition possessing excellent piezoelectric properties as well as piezoelectric body micromachining and molding have proven difficult (Photo 1). In addition, MEMS drive block processing requires high precision, and extensive knowledge and expertise are needed to develop new technologies and apply them to a variety of applications, creating a high barrier to entry.